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In brief for week ending 13 September 2017

Make sure that you have not missed a key development in your area of the law by reading our In brief review of the latest Practical Law Local Government email.

Adult social services:

  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the interim findings of the financial analysis of care homes industry in the UK that the CMA is undertaking as part of its care homes market study.

Central government:

  • The Wales Act 2017 (Commencement No 2) Regulations 2017 have been made, relating to the transfer of Ministerial functions and the modification of water-related functions.
  • Following a presentation by the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, the Conference of Presidents have met to debate the current state of play of Brexit talks.
  • The European Commission has published five position papers that had been discussed by the Council Working Party (Article 50).
  • The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has published an interim report on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19.
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the third round of Article 50 negotiations, which were held from 28 to 31 August 2017.

Children’s services:

  • The European Court of Human Rights has endorsed a local authority’s placement of a child with stranger foster carers, even though the child’s older sibling had been placed with their maternal grandparents (ML v Norway).
  • The Lord Chief Justice’s Report 2017 has been published and provides an update on the court modernisation process and an update on changes to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 regarding Practice Direction 12J and intermediaries, the impact of the increasing number of public law children cases, the potential increase of cases involving radicalisation, and the development of an Anglo-Scottish protocol.

Civil litigation:

  • The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2017 have been made and will come into force on 1 October 2017. These rules are part of the 92nd update to the Civil Procedure Rules.
  • The Ministry of Justice has published civil court statistics for the quarter April to June 2017.


  • The High Court has, as one of two preliminary issues, ruled on the meaning and effect of a provision capping the defendant’s liability under a contract. The court has held that the provision was valid and enforceable and not void for uncertainty (Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust v ATOS IT Services UK Ltd).
  • The Home Office has produced a guidance leaflet providing information about immigration options and legal advice, claiming asylum, applying for discretionary leave and how to return home for victims of trafficking.


  • The High Court has given its reasons for allowing the continuation of an injunction preventing the publication of information relating to safeguarding issues at a London school (London Borough of Croydon v Dodsworth and others).
  • The Welsh Government has announced the publication of a new guide for parents with adopted children in Wales on how to work with schools to benefit their child’s education.
  • The Government Equalities Office has announced a £3 million initiative as part of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender anti-bullying campaign, pairing schools with partner organisations in order to prevent bullying on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Contact, a children’s disability charity, has published a report on school transport for disabled children in England.

Employment and pensions:

  • The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has held by a majority that an employee’s Article 8 privacy rights had been infringed as a result of his employer’s decision to monitor personal messages which he had sent on a work-related Yahoo Messenger account (Barbulescu v Romania).
  • The EAT has upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that a predominantly female group of supermarket retail employees can compare themselves with a mainly male group of distribution depot employees for the purposes of an equal pay claim of work of equal value (Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley and others).
  • Acas has published guidance for employers on how to support parents who have had ill or premature babies.
  • The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland have responded to the consultation on revising bands for compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination claims, in line with the Retail Price Index and the uplift in Simmons v Castle, and have published joint Presidential Guidance.
  • Minister of State Dominic Raab MP has answered questions in the House of Commons following the withdrawal of employment tribunal fees.


FOI and data protection:

  • The European Commission has published a position paper on the use of data and the protection of information obtained or processed before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU which sets out the EU’s essential principles to be presented to the UK in the context of Article 50 negotiations.


  • The Department of Health has published a consultation on making changes to the various regulations governing the NHS Standard Contract (Accountable Care Models).
  • The National Audit Office has published a short guide to the Department of Health and NHS England.


  • The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched his draft housing strategy for London setting out his proposals for dealing with the current housing crisis.
  • The Local Government Association has published a report, “Housing our ageing population”, which looks at how local authorities may be able to meet the housing needs of older people.
  • The National Audit Office has published a report looking at whether the Department for Communities and Local Government is delivering value for money when administering homelessness policy.

Local government law:

  • The auditor firm KPMG has published a draft external audit report for 2016/17 concerning Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. The draft report criticises the council’s use of emergency powers in its decision-making.
  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on Gypsies and Travellers.
  • The Charity Commission has launched a consultation on changes to the annual return from 2018.

Property and planning:

  • The Upper Tribunal has:
  • The Department for Transport has issued an update on the draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) process and published a report by the government’s independent consultation adviser on the consultation on the draft NPS.
  • The government’s Building Safety Programme has published consolidated advice following completion of large-scale combustivity testing of cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • The government has published a call for evidence for the independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety.
  • FIDIC has announced that the 2017 editions of its 1999 suite of contracts (Red, Yellow and Silver Books) will be launched on 5 December 2017.

Public procurement and state aid:

  • The General Court has dismissed an appeal by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) against a European Commission decision that partially approved German aid for BMW for the production of electric passenger cars, but only to the extent that the planned aid was necessary to carry out the project (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v Commission).
  • The European Commission has announced that it has decided, under the state aid rules, to approve Germany’s grant of public support to Memmingen-Hahn airport.

Regulation and enforcement:

  • The High Court has dismissed an appeal against a previous Valuation Tribunal for England finding that the onus, in a council tax reduction case, was on the appellant to provide information supporting her claim that she was entitled to a reduction (Francois v London Borough of Waltham Forest).
  • The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has delivered his 2017 annual report to Parliament pursuant to section 5(1) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
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